Bilbao is one of the cities that decided that a change would do it’s economy good, after several years of neglect by the people. That is why the previously industrial town decided to have a makeover in the 1990s.
The new Bilbao is featured with grand infrastructure and skyline features that have been known to be works of some of the greatest architects and designers in the world. It is then not only one of the prime areas anyone could visit while in Spain, but it is also one of the most modern places found in Spain.
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1. Guggenheim Museum Bilbao
It is one of the significant points of pride in Bilbao. It was built by Frank Gehry in 1997, in Nervion designed uniquely as a ship. This museum is famous because of the architectural designs both inside and outside of the building. It has helped it a great deal in attracting people from all over the world.
The titanium and glass cladding exterior, together with the flowing lines, welcomes you to the inside of the museum. Here, you will enjoy the 19 galleries in the 24000 square meters with exhibitions ranging from contemporary art, themed exhibitions and shows by Richard Serra among the many.
2. Museum of fine arts Bilbao
It was first opened in the 1910s aiming at accommodating both the Spanish local and international art in the two separate buildings. Here you will find Italian works, Dutch and Flemish paintings and also Basque artists too. You will, therefore, get works by people like Francisco de Goya and Francis Bacon, among many others.
If you are keen enough, you will notice some works that go as far as the 12th century. You will see the various materials like the renaissance and baroque masters like Murillo and Sorolla’s masterpiece ‘Kissing the Relic’ among many other things there.
There is a restaurant that also serves some of the stunning haute cuisine dishes.
3. Plaza Nueva
It is a Spanish monumental square that is at the center of the Casco Viejo. Despite having four buildings on each side of the square, it has a running arcade that serves most of the people around that area. Being one of the 1800s structures, it is among the historical landmarks in this area.
If you are in town on Sunday, you will get to enjoy a beautiful collector’s market that is known for selling antique stamps and coins. There are also many more things you can carry home as souvenirs like artisan arts and crafts.
It is also the best place for pintxos, which helps to bring people and allow natural interaction despite where you come from.
4. Bilbao Cathedral
The 15th-century cathedral is located at the center of the Casco Viejo district. This makes it very accessible for most people. The gothic architectural design that it was built in has contributed profoundly to it being one of the historical landmarks in Bilbao.
The unique thing that you will get to enjoy once you are here is the renaissance and the neoclassical porticoes that have been maintained over the years. Apart from being a place of worship, it has been noted to be more of a historical center where people get motivated and can find some form of peace in the natural setting of the church, even when you are not Roman Catholic.
5. Zubizuri bridges
Among the many bridges in Bilbao, there is the Zubizuri footbridge that is also called the Campo Volantin Footbridge. It crosses the estuary in an arch form that has been tied at one point and has this sweeping motion that looks like a fantastic glass deck.
Flowing over the Nervion River, it was finalized in the 1990s. You can access it easily from the ramps and stairways that have been placed on both banks to ease movement. It is one of the many things that will surely make your trip very memorable, especially if you are staying in one of the hotels.
6. Azkuna Zentroa
This is one of the cultural and leisure centers that you would find in this place. It was previously called the Alhondiga. Therefore, don’t be shocked when you keep hearing people referring to it. This place was originally in the old wine exchange area.
The center is famous because it rests on 43 pillars, each with its unique artwork attached to it. It is usually a unique place to go to even if you are not really into art. The scenery here is quite breathtaking and unusual in its way.
7. Basilica de Begona
The Begona church is set in the district of Begona, which is on an elevated level compared to the old town. It is the pilgrimage church built in the 16th century, having been built in honor of the Virgin of Begona.
You can get to this place over excellent hiking to the top of the hill or the lift that is just at the church of San Nicolas. The fact that it is at an elevated point, it offers the people who make it to the top of the hill, a great view of the whole city.
8. Dona Casilda de Iturrizar Park
Bilbao is a city at the center of the urban setting. However, this park brings back the rural environment. The exciting mix of the leafy palm trees and the flowers gives anyone who visits it a break from the rest of the city.
It has several paths that welcome a great walk and expansive green space where you can have a picnic as you enjoy the view. There is a lake within the park that has ducks and boat activities all the time. There is also a fantastic outdoor theatre, cybernetic fountain, and a working old fashioned merry-go-round for the kids to enjoy.
9. Mercado de la Ribera
The famous city market can be found just at the edge of the Casco Viejo, right by the river. Here you get the fresh produce from the farm. It is also known to be the best place to experience the authentic Bilbao lifestyle.
The market place is known to be historical, a magnificent building built-in 1929. The market being indoors, it covers a general of around 10,000 m2. Therefore, you may find numerous restaurants and bars for you to sit back and enjoy the place. At night the area comes alive with lights and music.
10. Museo Arqueológico, Etnográfico e Histórico Vasco
The archeological history museum is one of the most educating places you can visit when you are in Bilbao. If you are a history lover, then this would be heaven for you.
You will get to learn, see, and even touch some of the archeological remains over the transition period of man.
The 17th-century building is filled with cultural exhibits that have been admired by people over time. The fact that it deals with people over time has led it to be known as the ethnographic museum. Located close to the cathedral, it is therefore very accessible and open to children who have a natural love for history.
11. La Salve
It is one of the iconic and most memorable bridges that Spain has. Initially, its name was the ‘Prince and Princess of Spain Bridge.’ Just next to the Guggenheim museum, you get to enjoy the exterior view of the museum while you are crossing the bridge. The exciting thing is that you get to access the bridge viewing platforms via elevators.
It is unique since it is one of the first bridges and has been built on green concrete, which was done in the 1970s. This bridge was slightly adorned during the 10nth year of the museum. A red arch was added across the top of the bridge, giving it a bit more glorious look compared to before by Daniel Buren.
The steel deck that it has and the cable-stayed system was aimed to connect the center of the city to the suburbs. But with time, it has just been used as a means for people to move from the city center to other areas of the city.
12. Funicular de Artxanda
With this one, you have to be okay with heights. Here, you get to enjoy a nice relaxing ride on the old funicular cable railway to the top of Mount Artxanda. This specific ride is unique since it has been functioning since 1915.
Enjoy the fantastic scenery as you take your ride and an even new view once you are at the top. The town has invested in making it very accommodating. This means that you can have meals at the restaurants there, or enjoy the views over the walkways made.
At the top of the mountain, there is also a park and a sports complex where many people have been known to train there to build up their body tolerance.
13. Iglesia de San Nicolás
The church of San Nicolas was built in the 1750s with an exquisite taste in architecture that has been famous all over the world. Located at the center of the city of Bilbao, it is easily accessible by anyone.
When you enter the church itself, you will notice the Greek cross floor plan with a square set at the center, which then acted as the pivot point of the building.
Five amazing altarpieces have the unusual walnut curvature as the pulpits. The general outline of the church is based on Baroque style, with the simplicity evident on the windows and the pilasters at the front of the church.
14. Parque Etxebarria
The Etxebarria Park is located on the slopes of the valley that the city is located on. It is said that it is directly on an old steel factory that was working some time ago.
It is, therefore, the best place if you want to enjoy a fantastic view of Abando and Casco Viejo among the many other centers that are in its viewpoint.
The interesting thing is that there is a chimney that has been preserved in memory of the factory. It is here that you will get to enjoy fireworks that are displayed during the festivities. Some barracks are also placed during specific festivals to bring out the authenticity of the times.
15. Europa Parkea
Getting to run around while you enjoy the scenery should be big yes-yes during your trip. It is the best place to bring your family for a lovely time.
They could enjoy walking, biking, or even skating. There are also ponds where they can lay with some of the ducks while playing with their miniature boats too.
There are also some ping pong tables where you can spend your afternoon bonding with your family members or even make new friends over a beautiful game. There are also gyms and sports houses here too.
This park is one of the most significant places where you can just relax and enjoy the day.
Trying out your holidays in a place as exciting as the Bilbao city in Spain is one that you cannot pass on. Getting to enjoy the fantastic sceneries, take hikes and rides on the many historical places that are easily accessible is worth your time.
Visit the parks and have lovely picnics while your children play around as they explore the area. Take numerous pictures from the many spots that you can get to.
The bridges and the basilicas that are slightly elevated from the city itself gives you a great view of the whole place. Don’t forget to try out the funicular rides to the mountain, which is one of the oldest rides that are available and still functioning well enough over the years.
Finish off by having exciting market days at the plaza Nuevo and the city market where you get to buy several of the things you will need and even bring back home to your country as souvenirs. It is the perfect holiday destination.